Report of Captain John C. Snodgrass, Seventeenth Iowa Infantry, of affair (August 15) near Tilton, Ga.
TILTON, GA., August 20, 1864.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report the following in regard to the engagement between the forces under my command (Companies H and I, Seventeenth Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry) and a portion of General Wheeler's cavalry corps, on the 15th day of August, 1864, at the water-tank, two miles south of Dalton, Ga.:
On the 14th day of August, 1864, at 3.15 o'clock, firing was heard in the immediate vicinity of Dalton. Half an hour thereafter, a large force of the enemy appeared on the railroad, at a point one mile and a half south of Dalton. They immediately commenced the destruction of a small bridge at this point, at the same time threatening an attack upon my position at the water-tank. After destroying the bridge the enemy continued the destruction of the railroad by tearing up the track, and advancing slowly toward my position. As the enemy appeared in overwhelming numbers, I concluded not to make any attack on them, but to hold my position, if possible. I immediately dispatched a courier to Captain Ping, commanding a small detachment four miles south of me, informing him of my perilous situation, and asking for re-enforcements. Upon the return of my courier I received an order from Lieutenant-Colonel Archer, commanding Seventeenth Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry at Tilton, to report to Dalton. This was impossible for me to do, as the enemy was between me and Dalton, numbering several thousand, and slowly advancing toward the water-tank, destroying the railroad track as they came. As the enemy advanced, a considerable number of shots were exchanged with my pickets. At this time I had all my force collected in and about the stockade, keeping out a sentinel a short distance on each side. The enemy continued his work of destroying the railroad, and advancing until after dark. At 11 p. m. my pickets were driven in, when the enemy moved forward and closed his lines to within 250 or 300 yards of the stockade. At this time he appeared to be in overwhelming force, entirely surrounding me, but almost entirely concealed by the darkness and a thick growth of underbrush. Thus the situation remained until near daylight on the morning of the 15th instant, the enemy firing a few shots at intervals during the night.
Shortly before daylight he opened with heavy musketry fire, and gradually closing his lines, still remaining hid from view by the thick underbrush. I exhorted the men to keep cool; not to waste their ammunition by rapid firing, but to make every shot effective, if possible. Heavy firing was kept up in this way until 8 a. m., when it was discovered that the enemy was approaching with several pieces of artillery, and preparing to shell the stockade. At 8.15 a. m. the enemy sent in a flag of truce, demanding an immediate and unconditional surrender. After consultation with the officers under my command I offered the following terms: First, That both officers and enlisted men retain their personal property; second, that we should be treated as prisoners of war. These terms were accepted, and 8.45 o'clock I surrendered my entire command, consisting of 3 commissioned officers and 62 enlisted men, with all their